SOCHI, December 1. /TASS/. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev expects the accession of India and Pakistan to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will step up intergovernmental cooperation.
The prime ministers of eight SCO member states gathered for a meeting of the Council of Heads of Government in Sochi earlier on Friday to discuss deepening economic and humanitarian cooperation.
"Our meeting today is special. The meeting of the Council of Heads of Government will be held with participation of our colleagues from India and Pakistan, and we congratulate the new participants with the accession to the SCO and express hope for a fruitful work," the prime minister said.
Medvedev noted that Russia’s presidency in the Council of Heads of Government is coming to an end. "Our work is aimed at giving a new dynamics to developing the organization and trade, economic and humanitarian ties, and ensuring security," he said.
He thanked the SCO participants for "support and constructive contribution to achieving these goals."
Russia hopes that the SCO work will "contribute to efficient cooperation on an extended platform of national strategies of development and integration initiatives."
The Declaration on the Establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was inked in China’s Shanghai in June 2001 by six founding states - Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. On June 9, 2017 India and Pakistan became full-fledged members of the SCO.
Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia currently enjoy observer status while Sri Lanka, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia and Nepal are dialogue partners.